Generation Rwanda was started in order to provide low-income students in Rwanda with a viable path to higher education. Currently funding 114 students, about 30 accepted per year, the model has made it possible for its beneficiaries to attend the university and obtain the degree of their choice within Rwanda. Funded largely by individual donors, the model has become well known throughout the country, receiving over 4,000 applications in 2012.
The selection process is thorough; candidates begin with a paper application where they provide their academic history, a short essay, and a certificate of economic vulnerability. After review of these applications, the top 25% of applicants move on to a day of testing which assesses their problem solving and critical thinking skills. Finalists are then selected for group and individual interviews, where their personal motivation and level of economic need are further evaluated. Over time, Generation Rwanda has adapted both its selection process and its services to best suit the needs of its students. Cognizant that quality English or French instruction is not available to all in Rwanda, assessments were adjusted to include language-independent and Kinyarwanda tests.
Recognizing the many challenges its beneficiaries face once in school, Generation Rwanda has also expanded to provide additional services: students have the opportunity to attend intensive English language training, as well as training sessions on critical thinking, entrepreneurship, and basic health. Mental health support is also made available. These supplemental services have contributed to Generation Rwanda students’ graduation rate of 98%. Looking into the future, Generation Rwanda hopes to reach out to a larger number of students and reinvent higher education delivery within Rwanda. Its 2013 class will attend a new university model, which will pair online courses from top United States universities with in-person instruction at a new campus in Rwanda.
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CEI approaches in action
Economic need is incorporated into the selection process for Generation Rwanda students. Applicants are requried to submit a certificate of vulnerability. Economic need is further assessed during the personal interview portion of the application to ensure scholarships benefit students who could not otherwise afford university.
The program has increased the number of students it sponsors each year as funding has allowed. The number of graduates went from 4 in 2008 to 64 in 2012. The number of applicants has also increased, passing 4,000 in 2012.
In the future, Generation Rwanda aims to reach more students by providing its own education delivery and therefore reducing costs. Its 2013 class will attend a new university model, which will pair online courses from top United States universities with in-person instruction at a new campus in Rwanda.
Monitoring & Evaluation
Generation Rwanda issues annual reports, measuring indicators such as graduation rates and graduate employment rates. Student performance is also measured relative to peers. Having established a larger cohort of graduates, the program hopes to measure long-term patterns in income levels and overall quality of life.
98% of Generation Rwanda stuednts find employment upon graduation from university.
98% of Generation Rwanda students graduate from university.
Generation Rwanda's students had a TOEFL Exam Pass Rate of 85.7% in the 2011-2012 school year.